8 tips to avoiding modeling scams
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
Let's face it.
There are a million agencies out there posting images of what seems to be real models who they represent - agencies or individuals who are always talking about how they book amazing jobs for their models.
Maybe you have even had agents or talent scouts reaching out to you on social media asking if you would like to get signed; many of whom you have never heard of in the sea of agencies that seem to pop up overnight.
But what are some keys things to be mindful of to know if you are about to be the victim of a potential scam - either for money or human trafficking for instance - or if you are actually being contacted by a legitimate agency?
YOUR SAFETY IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE!
To make sure that your dreams of becoming a model are not tainted as a result of you being taken advantage of physically or financially, below are 8 tips to keep in mind before jumping at the opportunity to sign a modeling contract or before meeting with an apparent agent.
Spotting Modeling Scams - Red Flag Cheat Sheet:
1. Research the company or person in question by doing online searches and social media inquiries to see what information you find on the company in question. I even suggest calling the number found online for the place of business to see if the information you gather on the phone/online compares to any information sent to you via email or social media by the person trying to sign you.
2. Check out reviews as listed on Google and feel free to reach out to models that you see on the company's social media sites to see if those models are genuinely signed to the agency and to get their thoughts on working with said agency. Find out if the agency and employees have the best interest of the models and if the model has had any issues working with said company.
2. Never send nude photos if requested. Reputable agencies always ask models to submit digital or polaroid images in full clothing or in a swimsuit.
3. Never sign a contract or legal document if the agency is rushing you to do so and creating
what seems to be a sense of urgency. Do not feel that you may miss out on your shot of
an agent liking you if you do not quickly sign. You should always ask to take 3 business days to thoroughly review the contract. Ask a trusted friend, family or attorney to review the contract in the event you do not fully understand some of the content.
4. Do not give out personal information such as social security number, credit card
information etc. Only after you have thoroughly verified that the agency is legit is when you should provide your social on payroll tax documents.
5. Most agents will not ask to meet you via Skype or Facetime upon 1st reaching out to you. They will request that you set up a meeting in person if they wish to meet you or do a general phone call. Agents always request that you meet at their place of business – not at home for example. Be sure to tell a friend or family member the address and time of where you are going and when they should expect to hear from you after the meeting to ensure your safety.
6. If you are asked to meet with an agent/booker at night, do not agree to do so. Agencies
operate within normal daytime business hours. Even during the day, never meet with a
prospective agent, booker or scout without first verifying they are part of a reputable agency.
7. If any agency PROMISES that you will be a super successful model by signing with them, do not enter into their contract. Reputable agencies may share that they have confidence that you have what it takes to be a model but they should not guarantee that they will book you paid jobs and turn you into a supermodel.
8. Never tell an agency that you are desperate to be a model...or what I often hear aspiring models say to me "that you will do anything to be a model". When an unscrupulous individual hears you make comments such as those, it gives them more authority in their minds to take advantage of you knowing that you are willing to go to the extreme, or to go with their directed flow, just to live your dream.
While I am at it, these rules of verifying identity and ensuring your safety also applies
when speaking to photographers, stylists, make-up artists etc.
Hopefully these quick tips will bring you 1 step closer to following your dreams as a model in a safe and healthy manner that does not compromise your safety, time or money.
Have you ever been scammed, or almost scammed by an "Agency"? Leave a comment below and share what you learned from the experience.
Photo is of my 1st morning in South Africa. I was there for 3 months to work with my new agency after doing lots of research on the company before agreeing to fly half way across the world.
Pause - don't be so eager.
Do the research.
Keep an eye out for scams.
Live with no regrets.
Peace & love,